20 July 2010

1st London transfers, November 1916

Here's an interesting case study from the 1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) The London Regiment.

Numbers in the low 7000s were issued to men transferring to the 1st London Regiment from other London Regiment battalions – and mostly the 2/2nd Londons. 7049 James William Bowles is a typical example of these transfers.

James originally attested on the 2nd February 1916. He was a waiter by trade, 36 years old and living at 24 Marden Road, Bermondsey. He was called up to the 2nd City of London Regiment on the 18th August 1916 and given the number 6998. His service record states his locations as follows:

Home: 29.2.16 to 29.2.16 [his original attestation date]
Home: 18.8.16 to 22.11.16 [his mobilization date followed by the ensuing weeks and days in England]
Expeditionary Force France: 23.11.16 to 23.4.17
Home: 24.4.17 to 4.10.17 [returned home due to a severe gunshot wound sustained to his left arm on the 9th April 1917]

James’s statement of services records that he was posted to the Base Depot of the 1/1 London Regiment on the 24th November 1916 and transferred to the 1/1st London Regiment on the same day. This implies therefore, that he had arrived in France with the 2nd London Regiment and been transferred the following day to the 1st London Regiment. That being the case, I would have thought that it should have been his 2nd London Regiment number - 6998 - which should appeared on his medal index card as this is the unit with which he apparently arrived overseas. The medal index card however, makes no reference at all to the 2nd City of London Battalion. A clerical error, or am I missing something obvious?

James Bowles's service record is accessible on-line via the Ancestry website. The medal index card reproduced here is Crown Copyright.

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